Pardon my ignorance about sugar beets, but why would they be any worse than any other plant?
I think it was because they can grow into huge, broadleaf, dard green plants that are difficult to eradicate. It may have been because the sugar company was convenient for the seeds. I do remember that stadium having some really dark green spots where they couldn't remove the plants. They ended up re-turfing. Oops.
"A mature sugar beet measures up to a foot long, weighs three to five pounds and can produce about five ounces of sugar. Roughly 18 percent of the beet is pure sugar." said Michigan Sugar manager of communications Mitch Reno. These beets, which grow from tiny seed to burly beet in just one growing season, can have tap roots as deep as ten feet in a dry year. Mahar added, although typically they stay in the four-to five-foot range.
"Michigan is a wonderful, reliable place to grow sugar beets," Mahar said, thanks to its overall weather and particularly autumns sunny days and cold nights. "When its cooling down at night the sugar drops from the foliage into the beet plant. The sugar beet pretty much can handle all problems of nature - drought or damp. In the early part of the century black-root disease and blight were common out west," he said. But Michigan is a fairly disease-resistant state. "The bitter cold of January and February just sanitizes our soil." A more difficult time was in the late 1970s and early 1980s when soft-drink bottlers switched from sugar to high-fructose corn sweetener. "That cut down the sugar consumption in the United States," he said. "[When] all of a sudden somebody comes out with this other kind of sweetener and takes away Coca-Cola, youve lost a pretty good-sized customer."
The sugarbeet plant is a root crop which grows underground. When fully grown, a sugarbeet weighs two to five pounds and produces about three teaspoons of sugar. Michigan sugar beet farmers harvested 130,000 acres of crop in 1996, ranking Michigan 5th in the nation in sugar beet production. Michigan's Saginaw Valley and Thumb area, along with the southeast corner of the state, produces more than 90% of the sugar beets grown east of the Mississippi River. The high quality sugar is a result of growers and companies working closely together to ensure that each crop of sugar beets uses the "best management practices", resulting in a healthy product at harvest.
Mention the word sugar, and many people think of what one adds to coffee (white sugar, sucrose). Other types of sugar include confectioners sugar - a combination of table sugar and corn starch - and maple sugar, a sucrose that is contracted from the sap of a maple tree.
Not all sugar beets are processed into sugar, however. Beet pulp is used as cattle feed and dog food. Molasses, a byproduct of processing, is used to make citric acid, vinegar, yeast and antibiotics.
Michigan is a major grower/producer of sugar beets. ("B" is the seed.)